29 September 2014

Fall Foliage Fiesta!

Well, actually it was a drive not a fiesta, but I was having fun with my alliteration.

I suppose that I now understand where my children got their desire to make their writing paper titles alliterations.  It is just plain fun!

This past weekend was huge for us, HUGE!  Tyler and I took our annual fall road trip through parts of Maine and New Hampshire.  For the second year in a row we brought some of the boys.  This year, Andrew joined us for the first time as well as Josiah and Elijah, who experienced fall fun last year and wanted to go again.  In 2013, we traveled NorthEast, or Downeast as well call it here in Maine towards West Quoddy Head and the Eastern most point of the USA.  This year we went South and West.  The Western mountains in Maine and New Hampshire are some of the most beautiful sights in New England.   I grew up camping, hiking, and swimming in these mountains and always find myself drawn to them for a fall drive.  

Our 2014 Fall foliage adventure started with a quick drive to Portsmouth NH to visit the beautiful living history museum of Strawberry Banke.  We had a wonderful time studying the architecture, gardens, and listening to the roleplaying employees.  There is something quite odd about conversing with a woman about her grandchildren when you know those grandchildren are now dead.  At one point I wanted to ask her, "wait!  Are you talking about your real grandchildren or those of your character!" Man did she know her history though.

Andrew checking the pitcher plant for any bugs

Josiah studying the compost bins so that he can build me one.

Playing on the boat outside one of the houses

After our walk through historic Portsmouth we ventured North along the NH/ME border towards Conway.  Our sole destination at that point was Mt. Washington.  We wanted to arrive by 5 pm so that we could drive up the side of the mountain and view the foliage from 6,288 ft.  It was a beautifully clear day for this and although the activity caused us to not be able to meander and stop along our journey, we all were thrilled to make it to the ominous mountain in time.  Mount Washington boasts the world's worst weather as they have calculated the highest wind speeds on its peak along with cold temperatures, snow, sleet, and everything else with only a second's notice.  The temperature on the mountain the day we visited was a balmy 64 degrees.  It was 84 degrees in the valley and unusually very hot for Indian Summer.

At the Top! 

The cog railway train came  up right after us.  Next time I think we may take that so we don't have to drive our jalopy up the mountain. 

The drive was terrifying as both Tyler and I are afraid of heights.  Tyler is a master at driving though and we made it both up and down the mountain safely.

The colors were superb!

26 July 2014

Liberty & Independence for all

Eli milking Tilly

A funny thing happened.  Ten years ago, Tyler & I bought our first dog.  Actually, we didn't buy her.  She was free.  At 5 weeks of age we brought her home as a little black ball of fur.  Appropriately named Liberty Belle, the poor little girl had to be trained by a mad pregnant woman.  But it worked, ten years later she is a very well trained over hyper black golden retriever dog.  

Libby posing with the boys. I swear she thinks she is a kid. 

 Liberty is so well trained that she comes, sits, goes to her room, gets out of the kitchen, fetches the ball, and does all of the normal things that a dog does.  Except bark, alert us to danger, protect my children in our back woods from rabid raccoons or bobcats, and keep my goats in their pen.  Basically,  she is well trained for a family in suburbia that doesn't need their dog to do anything except leave the neighbors alone and come when she is called.

To make a long story short, Tyler and I had this predicament:

1. Liberty does not protect our children
2. Liberty is going to die in the next 3-4 years,
3. Liberty should be here to help train a new dog 

Our answer: 
1. What: An Australian Cattle Dog or Heeler 
2. Cost: cheap
3. Timeframe: 1-2 years

Current Solution:
1. What: A female Australian Cattle Dog
2. Cost: A deposit and recently milled hemlock
3. Timeframe: Now

So we have a new dog, about a year early, but affordable.  Her name?  Independence.  She wasn't free, but she was bought on Independence Day.  

Already, Indy has herded my little Nigerian buck into his pen a handful of times, and is learning the property lines by walking with the boys everyday.  Liberty doesn't seem to mind a farm dog on site.  As long as it doesn't bother her sticks or balls or frisbees.